Wilton, Maine - Two companies are facing large fines from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), as well as other legal action, for their failure to complete asbestos clean-up at the former Forster Manufacturing facility in Wilton.
An article in the Sun Journal reports that Adam Mack, the building's owner, and Ryan Byther of Down East Construction were charged with the task of demolishing the former mill, but the job was never completed after it was halted last July due to the presence of high levels of asbestos at the site. At that point, the two men hired Abatement Professionals Incorporated of Westbrook to handle the asbestos removal and finish the job, but – today – the lot remains strewn with dangerous asbestos.
Maine DEP spokesperson Samantha Depoy-Warren has referred to the Forster property as “one of the worst asbestos sites our staff has ever seen.”
Depoy-Warren believes that Mack hired Abatement Professionals but never paid them, hence the incomplete job. She added that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection is working with the state attorney general’s office to draft consent agreements that would outline Mack’s and Byther’s responsibilities for the clean-up process. However, the DEP is preparing to take over the asbestos removal if the two men don’t step forward and start the process soon.
In the meantime, locals worry about the presence of asbestos in the area. A known carcinogen, asbestos can cause various types of respiratory and lung-related diseases included thickening and scarring of the pleural area, asbestosis, and mesothelioma cancer. States have strict laws about removal of asbestos so that workers as well as those who live near such sites as Forster Mill aren’t exposed to the hazardous material.